Co-benefits of large-scale renewables in remote Australia: energy futures and climate change

Co-benefits of large-scale renewables in remote Australia: energy futures and climate change Journal Article

The Rangeland Journal

  • Author(s): Pittock, Barrie
  • Published: 2011
  • Volume: 33

Abstract: Desert/remote Australia is blessed with abundant natural energy resources from solar, geothermal and other renewable sources. If these were harnessed and connected appropriately desert/remote Australia could be not only energy self-sufficient but a net exporter. Generation of abundant, clean energy can also attract energy-intensive industries and provide local income and employment. Such co-benefits should be included in any cost-benefit analysis. Regardless of renewable energy’s contribution to reducing climate change, the world is already committed to global warming and associated climate changes. Desert/remote Australia will thus inevitably get warmer, with implications for health, energy demand and other issues, and may be subject to increased extremes such as flooding, longer dry spells, more severe storms and coastal inundation. In addition, the prospect of world demand for oil from conventional sources exceeding supply will likely lead to oil shortages, higher oil prices, and additional incentives to provide alternative energy supplies. The region is heavily reliant on diesel generators and fossil fuel-powered motor vehicles and airplanes for transport for within-region mobility, the importation of goods, the tourism industry and emergency medical services. Without adaptation, climate change and peak oil will make living in desert/remote Australia less attractive, resulting in increased difficulty of attracting and retaining skilled workers, which would constrain development. This paper focuses on the climate and energy-related impacts and potential responses. These are both a challenge and an opportunity. They could provide additional employment and income, thus helping remote communities to participate in the clean energy economy of the future and thus overcome some serious social problems. The paper attempts to review current knowledge and provoke debate on relevant investment strategies, and it teases out the questions in need of further research.

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Suggested Citation
Pittock, Barrie, 2011, Co-benefits of large-scale renewables in remote Australia: energy futures and climate change, Volume:33, Journal Article, viewed 14 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=2629.

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